The dictum of Anaximander of Miletus [9-10]

beings comes to us initially and for a long time hence as saying nothing. It says nothing to us, because we are used to apprehending only beings. And this saying nothing also implies that we can at first, as the expression is, “do nothing” with the statement that the whence and whither of appearing are the same.2

Before we consider more closely what lies in such a pronouncement, the task is to lay open in full what Anaximander says about beings.

d) The whence and whither of the stepping-forth and receding κατὰ τὸ χρεών—according to necessity

c) The whence and whither of the stepping-forth and receding of beings are the same κατὰ τὸ χρεών—according to necessity. What this says about beings is that their receding, disappearance, into the same as that from which comes their appearance, stepping forth, is not something that just happens to occur at one time or other. It is not left to the choice and pleasure of beings to accept or not to accept, so to speak, this sameness of their whence and whither. On the contrary, it is necessity—more precisely, τό, the necessity.3 In this sameness of the whence-whither, the necessity comes to light.

Thus we have now commented in more detail on what was pronounced about beings: stepping forth and receding (appearance), the whence and whither in their sameness, the latter as necessity.

Everything said about beings tells us how beings comport themselves, what the situation is with beings. But heed well: what is not recounted and established is how this or that individual being behaves, which properties and quirks it displays. Instead, what is supposed to be addressed is how beings, precisely as the beings they are, comport themselves. The way the singing [singend] bird comports itself we call singing [das Singen]. The way the extant [seiend] being comports itself we call Being [das Sein].

Therefore, Anaximander’s pronouncement about beings as a whole speaks of the Being of beings. But it does not simply enumerate all sorts of things that pertain to the Being of beings. At the same time, as the later section of the dictum shows, it says why the enumerated characters pertain to the Being of beings, (why they constitute Being). |

2 Completely if we heed: plural—therefore not at all a ἕν! Or indeed—something—which does not exclude multiplicity—|but essential fullness—plural—indication—of the ungraspable? Overfullness. Cf. below, p. 11, sec. b.

3 Essence—as necessitating power—compliance. {?}

The Beginning of Western Philosophy by Martin Heidegger (GA 35)